Péwé's Pile Gets UA-Ready
Let us introduce you to the project vehicle for this year's Ultimate Adventure, our annual weeklong four-wheeling trip you can read about in the November and December issues. We'll simply call it Péwé's Pile for now.
You see, our boss has had this heap of parts in his garage for about as long as we've known him. It used to be a '76 CJ-7 that had lofty dreams and ambitions but little time to get finished. Then the stars aligned, an idea was hatched, and common sense fell to the wayside as we decided to build this pile into a trail-worthy UA rig. But how do you build a CJ that hasn't been done before? You don't. Instead, you build the same old CJ, with just a few touches that'll make it a modern machine. It may not even stand out in a crowd, but then again, it might be like nothing you've seen before.
Before we get too far ahead, let's deal with problem number one: We want a simple, powerful, efficient engine that will run this old CJ down any trail yet still pass the tailpipe-sniffing inspectors we love to hate. To do that we had to have an Erod.
Smog testing is a pain in the neck and oftentimes just a money-making scheme for state governments. Nonetheless, many of us have to deal with this problem, and the problem just multiplies when you attempt an engine swap in a vehicle that requires a yearly smog exam. So what if we told you that we're going to swap in a new 400-plus-horsepower V-8 and cruise it through the smog station without a single problem? Think we're crazy? Well, we might be, but this buildup should fall together much easier than you could imagine. (Now we're doomed for putting that in print.)
What is Erod & Why?
Erod is General Motor Performance Parts' answer to a question asked by SEMA and the State of California. SEMA represents all the aftermarket parts manufacturers and all of us who like to meddle with the mechanical wellbeing of our cars, trucks, hotrods, 4x4s, and everything else with a powertrain to make it more fun. The State of California wants clean air and will tax, smog-test, and harass us gearheads in any way possible to get it.
General Motors realized the answer was a smog-legal crate engine that could be swapped into just about any vehicle required to pass inspection and yet still supply enough power to send tire-burning smoke into the atmosphere (be careful; burnouts aren't legal either). Since GM rolls vehicles off the assembly line every day with clean emissions and great power (can you say Corvette?), why not devise an engine package that can be stuffed in any old hot rod, rock buggy, or late-model and that would run clean and keep a grin on the driver's face? And so GM built that engine and named it Erod, as in "environmental (hot) rod."